I felt like having an Assam so I went and riffled through my pile of Teabox Assams. They mostly have very similar descriptions, but this one jumped out at me, because on the package it says, “produces a liquor with a crystal lemon like colour”, which sounded very intriguing and very different.

The dry leaf is small, dark and twisty, with a few tips. It smells like malt and baked bread. I steeped 1tsp in 93C water for 3 minutes, though the package recommends 5.

Well, unless “crystal lemon like colour” means something totally different to whomever wrote that description, I have no idea what they’re going on about. The liquor is a dark, reddish brown. Not quite coffee coloured, but closer to that than any lemon I’ve ever seen.

The liquor smells sweet and slightly fruity, like stewed prunes, with a hint of grain. The flavour is sweet and malty, with a touch of bitterness and very mild astringency. There’s not quite as much of a full mouth flavour as I was expecting, but I’m also hesitant to steep it longer and bring out more of the bitter and astringent notes. A bit of a fruity note at the tail of the sip, and then a finish that’s grain and makes me think of milk.

Toward the bottom half of my cup, as it cools, I’m also getting a hint of cardamom, but I’m going to chalk that up to imperfect cleaning of my steeping basket.

A pleasant but not exceptional Assam.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Bitter, Fruity, Grain, Malt, Stewed Fruits, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I grew up drinking jasmine green tea with meals, but really fell in love with tea on a trip to Britain in elementary school. My first great love was Earl Grey, and I still adore it and all its variants.

I discovered the beauty of loose leaf tea much later, when, on impulse, I picked up a few teas that were on clearance at a home store. My introduction to loose leaf teas were Masala Chai and Provence Rooibos by the Metropolitan Tea Co and an unknown brand of kukicha and gyokuro (little did I know what a precious treasure I’d stumbled onto with that.)

At the time I was lucky to live in a place with multiple tea shops and several places to have afternoon tea, which is a delight I still miss.

Tea is part of my daily ritual and a nice, affordable way to appease the collector in me.

I enjoy distinctive whites, greens and oolongs, flavoured blacks, and herbals that are heavy on the citrus, lavender or mint.

Rating rubric, to give myself some consistency:
0-15 Yuck, not even drinkable.
16-30 Disappointing, not really inclined to give it a second try.
31-45 Disappointing, but maybe there’s potential? Worth one more try, prepped differently.
46-60 Mediocre, not terrible but not memorable.
61-75 Not bad. I’ll definitely finish what I have and might buy again.
76-90 Very enjoyable. Tasty, complex, it’ll keep me coming back.
91-100 BEST! I love everything about it and I will drink it forever.

Beyond tea, I’m a sex educator, polyamory activist, and radical queer. I love backwoods camping, abstract painting, baking & cooking, nail polish, cats, ceramic sculpture, and home nesting.


Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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